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Title: Evolution, goals and assumptions in software systems
Author: Cook, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0001 3561 852X
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2007
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The main contributions of the thesis are (i) to propose an improved conceptual framework for understanding evolution in software artefacts, (ii) to use this framework to propose improvements in SPE, (iii) to identify 'goal sketching' as a promising technique for relating the SPE categories to software engineering practice, and (iv) to indicate some important implications of SPE for theory and practice in software engineering. This work contributes to the theory-building process for software evolution by proposing an improved explanatory conceptual framework, demonstrating its use, and indicating its implications. The framework is informed by other aspects of software engineering and by related bodies of knowledge. By providing a clearer conceptualisation of the problem, it will assist the refinement of progressively more precise 'laws of motion' of software evolution that can be tested empirically. It should also lead to improvements in software engineering practice. Lehman's original SPE defined S-type, P-type and E-type programs. This work proposes a set of refinements and clarifications of SPE, called SPE+. It reinstates the P category (which Lehman had proposed discarding), with a new definition based on concepts drawn from semiotics and hermeneutics, and on Kuhn's concept of scientific paradigm. The three SPE+ categories are defined in terms of stakeholders' strategic policies for managing the load-bearing assumptions which become embedded in software artefacts. SPE+ is a classification of the socio-technical processes ('global software process' in Lehman's terminology) that produce software artefacts. A case study of a telecommunications system illustrates how this work can be applied, through the technique of goal sketching, to industrial-scale software-intensive systems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available